Art Revolutions

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
11 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description


This module offers an in-depth study of a revolution in the production of art. Why is it that artists 'suddenly' start to create works that are startlingly different from what came before? Realism and Impressionism in France are the centerpieces of this module, which will explore painting and sculpture produced in the second half of the nineteenth century within the context of the social, economic, and political changes that were taking place in Paris--the capital of the nineteenth century. We will explore not only the historical stature and reputation of Courbet, Manet, Degas, Monet, Morisot and others, but their contemporary relevance. And we will examine not only why and how artists reacted to their time, but how they also came to influence it.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. to introduce students to key movements in the history of art by focusing on Impressionism;
2. to develop skills of oral and written description and analysis of art works;
3. to develop interpretation skills through comparative visual analysis;
4. to familiarise students with the use of primary and secondary sources.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module the student should have:

1. a sound grasp of Realist and Impressionist artworks and their context;
2. the ability to interpret works and texts based on sound knowledge of the appropriate historical and interpretative contexts;
3. the confidence to subject the texts studied to critical analysis; and
4. good bibliographic and basic research skills.

By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:

1. define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant;
2. seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information;
3. process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
4. compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure;
5. write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
6. be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them;
7. think 'laterally' and creatively (i.e., to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches);
8. maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position based on feedback;
9. think critically and constructively.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching. Week 21 is Reading Week.


  • Pollock, Griselda. (1988, c1987) 'Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity', in Vision and difference: femininity, feminism, and histories of art, New York: Routledge., pp.50-90
  • Herbert, Robert. (1979) 'Method and Meaning in Monet', in Art in America, New York: F.F. Sherman. vol. 67 (5) , pp.90-108
  • Armstrong, Carol. (1986) 'Edgar Degas and the Representation of the Female Body', in The Female body in western culture: contemporary perspectives, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press., pp.223-242
  • Courbet, Gustave. (1966) 'The Realist Manifesto', in Realism and tradition in art, 1848-1900: sources and documents, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall., pp.33-34
  • Baudelaire, Charles. (c1964) 'The Painter of Modern Life', in The painter of modern life: and other essays, [London]: Phaidon., pp.1-40
  • Marilyn R. Brown. (2007) '"Miss La La's" Teeth: Reflections on Degas and "Race"', in The Art Bulletin. vol. 89, pp.738-765
  • Petra ten-Doesschate Chu. (no date) Showing Making in Courbet's The Painter's Studio.
  • Shiff, Richard. (1992) 'Defining "Impressionism" and the "Impression"', in Art in modern culture: an anthology of critical texts, London: Phaidon Press., pp.181-188
  • Nochlin, Linda. (1989) 'Morisot's Wet Nurse: The Construction of Work and Leisure in Impressionist Painting', in Women art and power: and other essays, London: Thames and Hudson., pp.37-56
  • Susan Sidlauskas. (2001) ''Painting Skin: John Singer Sargent's Madame X'', in American Art: The University of Chicago Press. vol. 15, pp.8-33
  • Garb, Tamar. (1998) 'Gustave Caillebotte's Male Figures: Masculinity, Muscularity and Modernity', in Bodies of modernity: figure and flesh in fin-de-siècle France, New York: Thames and Hudson.
  • Frédérique Desbuissons. (no date) 'Courbet's Materialism', in Oxford Art Journal.
  • Duranty, Louis Emile Edmond. (1986) 'The New Painting: Concerning the Group of Artists Exhibiting at the Durand-Ruel Galleries [1876]', in The New painting: impressionism 1874-1886, Oxford: Phaidon., pp.37-49

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   1500 word essay     40% 
Coursework   Essay proposal with bibliography    25% 
Coursework   Quizzes TOTAL     35% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gomez, email:
Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gómez



External examiner

Prof Richard Simon Clay
Newcastle University
Professor of Digital Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Art History and Theory

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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